As the proud mother of two sons for several years now, I’m well acquainted with everything that is “boy.” So when my husband and I were shell-shocked to find out that we were very unexpectedly pregnant for a third time, I sent a prayer out to the universe and Beyonce that this child PLEASE be a girl. Nine months later, we welcomed a beautiful baby girl into our family.
And that is when it all started — all the PINK. Ugh.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I occasionally swoon at tulle skirts and blush pink ballet slippers and those adorable A-line dresses with the French collars that make you just want to pinch some cheeks and gush. But seriously, does everything have to come in Barbie pink?
My daughter is nary a month old and already this child has more clothes than I do, more bows than I do, and WHOA, don’t even get me started on the swing jackets and formal dresses. Her dresser is fully packed and there’s even a large bag of clothes awaiting the consignment shop sitting in my mudroom. All were gifts from friends and family. My husband and I purchased a set of six onesies in shades of green and white because the last time I checked, newborns don’t need pink sequined jackets with matching leather booties.
Here’s my general problem with this: From the second we announced we were having a girl to friends and family — who, mind you, are all people we love dearly and have only the best of intentions — we’ve been bombarded with nothing but hot-pink baby clothes, toys, and assorted infant gear. Nearly everything says something annoying like, “Sweetest Princess” or “Cutest Girl” or “Prettiest One In The Family” or some other phrase that boxes my daughter into a myopic definition of “girl.”
Of course, this isn’t entirely unique to girls. When my sons were babies, I’d complain about the limited options for clothes for them, too. Everything was dark green, blue, brown, or black and came in one of the following themes: sports, camo, dino, or trucks. I banned all of that junk and found a few inexpensive, but classy sites where I would order basic jeans and khaki pants and tees with animals or stripes or Oxford collared shirts.
I had always imagined that a daughter would be far easier to shop for, since the girls’ apparel aisles are always three times the size as the boys’.
Let me just say it now: I was wrong.
Girls clothes come in their own unique brand of skimpy, ironic “I can’t adult today” nonsense — obnoxiously pink, more pink, and pink with inappropriate words like “juicy” splashed across the derriere.
It’s become clear to me that dressing my kids is a way for me to advertise to the world what kind of family we are. But I want my kids to let their own little personalities speak for themselves — not the brands they’re wearing. I don’t want my sons walking around looking like free advertising for the NBA just like I don’t want my daughter dressing like a Bratz doll.
All the pink stuff we have now — the huge mountain of it that I cannot avoid — tells my daughter to be a dainty, nice, quiet girl. Her clothes are not cozy onesies meant to be changed quickly after she spits up or blows out her diaper, either. Oh, no. The clothes that were given to her as gifts are coated in ruffles and layers and buttons and glitter. At one month old, she’s being treated more like a doll than my sons ever were and as a woman — as her mother — this makes me feel irritated and even slightly nervous about her future.
If she’s already starting out by getting messages that she should look like a pretty pink sequined princess — before she can even lift her own head or focus her eyes on me — then what will her future be like? Of course, I’ll do everything to encourage my daughter to be self-assured and fiercely independent; even if that means that she fully embraces the world of pink. But in the meantime, I wish that my friends and family would look at her and see the potential for greatness that I see and not a girl who needs yet another fluffy pink tutu covered in glitter.